On the day that I voted
for Hillary Clinton in my first presidential election,
I cried for an hour after I tapped her name
on the touch screen
in the middle of the fire hall in my tiny town.
Sitting in the parking lot,
I cried with excitement and empowerment.
I cried for Alice Paul, Ida B. Wells, Inez Milholland, and Susan B. Anthony.
I cried for the women whose names were forgotten to history.
I cried for all of the women I know
young and old,
who were also voting for a woman
for the first time at the same time.
We all felt, together,
that we could become anything
and that we could have our voices heard.
I cried again later that afternoon,
because the man who sexually assaulted me
showed up as a “suggestion based on likes”
on my Instagram feed.
His profile photo was of himself
grabbing his girlfriend’s face,
squeezing it and kissing her
the same way he grabbed me,
held me down,
and would not let me go,
even as I cried.
I think of him grabbing her face,
and then of him grabbing my throat
as a man who thinks he can “grab” women “by the pussy”
is elected as our next president.
I cried for a third time that day,
but this time I couldn’t stop.
I cried for hours,
sobbing harder every time a message came in
from another survivor asking,
“what are we going to do?
How are we going to make it?”
I couldn’t answer them.
I could only cry harder
knowing that my nation
doesn’t believe that sexual assault is wrong,
and that grabbing unwilling women
by any part of their body
is nothing to be concerned about.
In fact, it is worse to send emails
from the wrong account.
The next day Hillary conceded,
but she told us all to have hope.
She reminded me,
and all of the women who voted for her,
and all of the women who aren’t old enough to yet,
that we are “valuable, powerful, and deserving.”
Those are the words every other survivor needs to hear
as we wind ourselves around each other
to build a wall that will keep out the predators
who loyally follow the man
we will be calling
Rachel Roupp is a poet and aspiring witch from Pennsylvania. Her work has appeared in Rag Queen Periodical, Crab Fat Magazine, and Komorebi Literary Magazine. She is known for poems that make people cry and her superb selfies with her basset hound.